Friday, December 21th at 7:30 PM EST at Quicken Loans Arena

Game Preview: IND at CLE

by Scott Agness | December 19, 2012 | Updated December 20, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Matchup

These two teams played in Indianapolis just five games ago. Since, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t won a game, adding to their considerable bumps in the road this year.

The Cavs have been beaten up in the young season, both with their players and record-wise. Tristan Thompson and rookie Tyler Zeller each are playing with facemasks and Kyrie Irving has recently joined the bunch due to a broken jaw. Talented rookie Dion Waiters is back in the Cavaliers lineup, after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle. The Pacers got a little taste of Waiters, the fourth pick in June’s draft, during their preseason game in Cleveland.

Denari & Montieth: All Things Pacers 121221

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Chris Denari and Mark Montieth discuss the Pacers' big win against the Jazz, Jamaal Tinsley's return to the NBA, and the season thus far.

With the Cavs, it's about containing their few specialties. At point guard, Irving is one of the best in the league. He’s averaging almost 24 points and six assists per contest while shooting 48 percent from the field. Anderson Varejao is the best rebounder in the league statistically, grabbing an average of 14.4 boards per game—with nearly six coming on the offense end. However, he did not play in their previous game and is unlikely to play tonight because of a knee injury. Zeller made his first career start Wednesday against Boston and grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds.

Cleveland can get wild with the ball at times and are second in the league in fouls per game. The Pacers, a 74-percent free throw shooting team, must convert at the line.

Last time they met, C.J. Miles helped his team contend and actually take a halftime lead. At one point, he scored 16 points in a row as Indiana’s defenders failed to get through screens and put a hand out on his three-point shots. Presumably this time, they won’t let that happen.

The Pacers top-rated defense has been huge at times when the offense has struggled. In the two teams’ last meeting, it was the Pacers’ second-half defensive effort—holding the Cavs to just 23 points—that was the difference.

Cleveland hasn’t won a division game all season (0-7). Will the Pacers keep that streak alive?

Probable Starters

Pacers

Cavaliers

  • C – Tyler Zeller
  • F – Tristan Thompson
  • F – Alonzo Gee
  • G – Dion Waiters
  • G – Kyrie Irving

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), Roy Hibbert (probable, bruised left thigh), Lance Stephenson (probable, sprained right ankle)
Cavs: Daniel Gibson (game-time decision, right ankle sprain), Anderson Varejao (game-time decision, right knee contusion)

Noteworthy

  • Indiana has won the last three meetings, and nine of the last 10.
  • The Cavaliers are the fourth-youngest team in the NBA.
  • Tyler Hansbrough and Tyler Zeller each played at UNC; Kyrie Irving and Miles Plumlee each went to Duke.
  • Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott played for the Pacers from 1993-95.

Last Meeting

When the teams played 10 days ago, the Pacers trailed by six at halftime, but their defense made the difference in the 96-81 win. Indiana held Cleveland to just eight field goals and 23 points in the second half. The 96-81 win was their first during their first three-game winning streak of the season.

C.J. Miles had arguably his best game of the season, finishing with 28 points on 6-of-9 three-pointer shots. He made all of his six free throw attempts and was the only Cavs player to produce at a high level. Paul George led the Pacers with 27 points while David West had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Indiana outscored Cleveland 40-16 in the paint.

In this one, Tyler Hansbrough stuck up for his younger brother, Ben, who took an elbow from Cavs forward Tristan Thompson. Also, Lance Stephenson went down early in the third quarter with a right ankle sprain but has since returned.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)

Next Home Game

The Pacers next home game is against their Central Division rival, the Chicago Bulls. The game is on Wednesday, December 26 at 7:00 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Buy Tickets »

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